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U.S. Agriculture Still Using Antibiotics that Cause Bacterial Resistance to Life-Saving Medicines, Problem Eliminated in Organic Production

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, March 3, 2017) A new report identifies antibiotic use in conventional plant and animal agriculture as contributing to bacterial resistance to critical life-saving human medicines and the importance of organic agriculture in eliminating antibiotic use. The report, Agricultural Uses of Antibiotics Escalate Bacterial Resistance, published in the latest issue of Pesticides and You, finds that while antibiotic use in animal agriculture is widely acknowledged as harmful, the use of antibiotics in chemical-intensive crop production also pose unnecessary and significant risks. The World Health Organization in 2016 identified bacterial resistance to antibiotics as “one of the biggest threats to global health.” The report notes that the herbicide glyphosate, one of the most widely used pesticides in the U.S., is patented by its manufacturer, Monsanto, for its antibacterial properties. As a result, glyphosate leads as the most   widely used antibiotic in agriculture and around homes, gardens, schools, and communities in the U.S. Other antibiotics used widely in apple and pear production are oxytetracycline and streptomycin, which is also used in the production of peaches, beans, celery, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes. These uses at environmentally relevant levels increase bacterial resistance to important antibiotics in medicine. “Resistant bacteria move from farms […]

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EPA Postpones Glyphosate Cancer Review Meeting after Letter from CropLife America

Friday, October 21st, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, October 21, 2016) Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) postponed  a long-planned Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) on the carcinogenicity of the widely used herbicide glyphosate due to “recent changes in the availability of experts for the peer review panel.”  However, as veteran journalist, formerly with Reuters, Carey Gillam reports in the Huffington Post, the move was likely the result of a letter industry front group CropLife America sent to EPA just days before the postponement, challenging the bias of certain experts on the panel. Croplife America is a national trade association that represents manufacturers, formulators, and distributors of pesticides, and has a vested interest in tamping down consumer concerns over glyphosate’s carcinogenicity. CropLife’s letter focuses in on two experts that were set to present in front of the EPA panel, Peter Infante, Dr.PH., and Kenneth Portier, PhD. CropLife writes that Dr. Infante will “reflexively discount any and all industry sponsored studies”¦” and indicates that his bias should preclude him from participation in the SAP. The group also asserts that Dr. Portier, who despite admission that “he has not previously testified against or otherwise expressed the patent bias against pesticide manufacturers,” should not be completely disqualified from […]

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President Signs Weak Product Labeling Law on Genetically Engineered Ingredients, Preempts States

Monday, August 1st, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, August  1, 2016) As expected, President Obama signed into law an amendment to S. 764, the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law, which establishes a national GMO (genetically modified  organisms or genetically engineered-GE) food labeling requirement that food safety advocates say may be deceptive, preempts states from adopting stronger label language and standards, and excludes a large portion of the population without special cell phone technology. Pushed by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Pat Roberts (R-KS), the law is being characterized by its supporters as a compromise, stronger than the original legislation, the Biotechnology Food Labeling and Uniformity Act (S.2621), which was dubbed the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act. That bill failed to reach cloture in the Senate in March. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, a big supporter of genetically engineered food production, will have two years to develop the standard, during which time it will assess the question of equitable access to the disclosure of ingredients. This new law will invalidate a stronger GMO labeling law that took effect in Vermont on July 1. The law, signed by the President on July 29, does very little to ensure that consumers will actually be able to […]

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Mixtures of Multiple Pesticide Ingredients in Products Not Evaluated by EPA for Elevated Toxicity

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, July 21, 2016) An investigative report released yesterday by Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) concludes  that, over the past six years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved nearly 100 pesticide products with chemical mixtures that elevate the formulations’  toxicity, but are not specifically evaluated  by the agency. CBD finds that these formulations add  more stress to already-jeopardized pollinators and rare plants. The report Toxic Concoctions: How the EPA Ignores the Dangers of Pesticide Cocktails, highlights a long-running blind spot within EPA’s pesticide evaluation program, which Beyond Pesticides has long sounded the alarm on: the risk associated with combining mixtures of different pesticide active ingredients, which independent science shows may be more toxic than a single active ingredient by itself, also known as pesticide synergism. The mixtures occur as a result of multiple ingredients in individual products or  because of exposure to multiple pesticide product residues in food, air, water, and land areas, such as lawns, playing fields, and parks. “It’s alarming to see just how common it’s been for the EPA to ignore how these chemical mixtures might endanger the health of our environment,” said Nathan Donley, Ph.D., a scientist with the CBD, and author of […]

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Organic Seed Production Is Not Keeping Up With Demand

Monday, June 27th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2016) A new report released last  week by the Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) found that the supply of organic seeds is not keeping up with the rising demand for organic products. The organic sector grew 11 percent between 2014 and 2015, with sales last year totaling $43 billion. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s National Organic Program (NOP) does require the use of organic seed when commercially available, but because the organic seed sector was almost nonexistent when the program began, it is still working to meet demand. In cases where organic seeds are not commercial available, organic farmers are allowed to turn to conventional seed alternatives. According to OSA’s State of Organic Seed report, funded by the Clif Bar Family Foundation’s Seed Matters Initiative, the UNFI Foundation, and New Belgium Brewing Company, the biggest organic operations actually use a relatively small amount of organic seed. They found that vegetable farmers that grow on less than ten acres use, on average, 75 percent organic seed, while growers that farm over 480 acres use only 20 percent organic seed. The authors of the report surveyed 1,365 organic farms, 16 seed companies, 46 researchers and 22 accredited […]

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GAO Finds USDA Regulation of Genetically Engineered Crops Deficient

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides April 20, 2016) A recently released study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) assesses the actions of three government agencies responsible for regulating genetically engineered (GE) crops, finding several shortcomings in the process. The report, which was commissioned by U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), is entitled Genetically Engineered Crops:  USDA Needs to Enhance Oversight and better Understand Impacts of Unintended Mixing with Other Crops. The report finds that while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have taken some steps to regulate GE crops, USDA’s failure to update its regulations that oversee GE crops has created a large data gap on the extent and impact of the unintended mixing of GE and non-GE crops. To address this, GAO recommends, among other things, that USDA set a timeline for updating its regulations and include farmer’s growing identity-preserved crops in its survey efforts to better understand the impacts of unintended mixing. The issue of coexistence between farmers using genetically engineered (GE) crops and non-GE farmers is as important as ever. GE crops pose a constant threat to the livelihood of organic farmers and undermine the burgeoning growth of the organic […]

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Court Rejects EPA’s Bid to Revoke Use of Dow’s 2,4-D/Glyphosate (Enlist Duo) Pesticide in GE Crops

Friday, January 29th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, January 29, 2016) This week, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed a victory to Dow Chemical Company and its  efforts to keep the toxic pesticide Enlist Duo on the market, despite new safety concerns identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Enlist Duo has been marketed as a “solution” for the control of glyphosate-resistant weeds in genetically engineered (GE) crops, brought on by the  widespread use of Monsanto’s  Roundup  on glyphosate-tolerant (Roundup Ready) crops over the last decade. EPA asked the court at the end of November, 2015 to vacate its 2014 approval of Enlist Duo based on new information on the  toxic effects associated with the synergistic interactions of  the chemical cocktail of 2,4-D, glyphosate, and other undisclosed ingredients in the product to plants outside the treated area, including endangered plants. The three-sentence order, which does not include  the judge’s reasoning, denied EPA’s request. While considering other legal options, EPA can choose  to exercise it administrative powers by  canceling specific uses or the entire  registration of Enlist Duo under  its pesticide cancellation process, and within that process could choose to identify an imminent hazard and remove the pesticide from the market immediately, while it faces […]

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New Video Release: Cultivating Community and Environmental Health,The 34th National Pesticide Forum

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, January 19, 2016) We hope you will join us at  Cultivating Community and Environmental Health: Models for sustainable and organic strategies to protect ecosystems, pollinators, and waterways, the 34th National Pesticide Forum. The forum will be held April 15-16, 2016 (Friday afternoon and all day Saturday) at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, ME. This year’s conference focuses adoption of policies to protect human health and the environment, and organic land and building management strategies. Other topics include ensuring scientific integrity, water quality, protecting pollinators, pesticides in schools and hospitals, and genetic engineering. The 2016 conference is convened by Beyond Pesticides, Toxics Action Center, and  Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). Co-sponsors include:  Food and Water Watch Maine,  Friends of Casco Bay,  Organic Consumers Association,  Portland Protectors, and  Regeneration International, as well as other local environmental and human health advocacy organizations. Register Today! Reserve your spot at the 2016 Forum today and get the Early Bird Discount rate ($5 off until March 15). Registration starts at $45 and includes access to all sessions as well as organic food and beverages. In addition to access to amazing speakers and networking opportunities, we will serve light refreshments and […]

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U.S. Senators to Advance Legislation to Stop States from Labeling GE Food

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 22, 2015) With increasing consumer concern about genetically engineered (GE) food, yesterday  the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing,  entitled Agriculture Biotechnology: a Look at Federal Regulation and Stakeholder Perspectives, that critics called lopsided. Most witnesses characterized GE food as safe or side-stepped the issue of safety, as government witnesses refused to distinguish GE from conventional food and opposed food labeling. “This is the first time in 10 years we’ve had a hearing on biotech. I guess we’re a little late, but we’re here,” said chair of the committee, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS). The ranking  minority member of the committee, Senator  Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)  said,  “Biotechnology is proven to be safe, beneficial, and I believe will play a major role in helping to solve these dual global challenges of climate change and global food security,” Central to the hearing is the the issue of labeling food products containing GE crops. Senator Stabenow called for the adoption of legislation on GE food labeling, presumably with language that will preempt the authority of states to adopt more stringent labeling standards. Senator Stabenow said that she wants labeling that “doesn’t stigmatize biotechnology.” The GE food […]

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Rise in Chronic Diseases Correlates with Glyphosate and GE Crops

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, November 20, 2014) A study published in the Journal of Organic Systems this week examined potential connections between the increase in chronic diseases seen within the United States and other parts of the world over the last 20 years and the explosion of glyphosate use, finding a significant correlation between glyphosate use, genetically-engineered (GE) crops, and human health. Glyphosate, one of the most popular weedkillers in both the U.S. and the world, is the active ingredient in Roundup ® ””the leading glyphosate product developed by Monsanto. Known as “Roundup Ready,” GE soybeans, corn, cotton, and other crops have been genetically altered and patented by Monsanto to be glyphosate-tolerant. Whether a crop stems from a Roundup Ready seed or not, glyphosate is used in almost all agricultural areas of the U.S., as well as on an international scale, in conventional, non-organic farming operations. Because of Roundup’s popularity, glyphosate use has skyrocketed, leading to an estimated application of nearly 250 million pounds of the chemical across the U.S. alone and resulting in significant problems of glyphosate resistance and the increased presence of the herbicide in our food and environment. The increased presence of glyphosate has also ushered in independent data […]

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GAO Report Sounds Alarm Again on Poor Pesticide Controls

Monday, November 10th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, November 10, 2014) According to a new Government Accountability (GAO) report, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not test food for several commonly used pesticides with established tolerance levels —including glyphosate, one of the most commonly used pesticides in the U.S. This and other disturbing findings documented in GAO’s report,  Food Safety: FDA and USDA Should Strengthen Pesticide Residue Monitoring Programs and Further Disclose Monitoring Limitations,  issued last Thursday, sounds an alarm that GAO began sounding  in the 1980’s in several reports that identify shocking limitations of  FDA’s approach to monitoring for pesticide residue violations in food. GAO sharply criticizes FDA for not using statistically valid methods consistent with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standards to collect information on the incidence and level of pesticide residues. In fact, GAO states that it “was unable to find publicly available estimates of the overall toxicity or risk associated with the use of agricultural pesticides in the United States.” According to GAO, FDA is testing less than one-tenth of one  percent of all imported fruits and vegetables and less than 1 percent of domestic fruits and vegetables.  The report is also critical of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) […]

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New Wave of Herbicide-Tolerant Crops Awaiting Likely U.S. Approval

Friday, August 8th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, August 8, 2014) Despite the continued documentation of weed resistance all over the United States, as well as the world, another line of herbicide-tolerant crops developed by Monsanto is currently in the pipeline awaiting likely approval by U.S. regulators. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on Tuesday, which, according to regulators, will pave the way for the approval of new  genetically modified cotton and soybean plants tolerant to a mixture of the herbicides glyphosate and dicamba. Monsanto’s new soybean and cotton crops were developed to withstand their new herbicide formulation, called Roundup Xtend, which combines the pesticides dicamba and glyphosate. The “Roundup Ready Xtend crop system” was developed to curb the proliferation of millions of acres of weeds that have grown resistant to Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup, which has been used on the company’s biotech corn, soybeans, and cotton. Weed resistance due to cropping systems dependent on herbicides has been documented for years, making APHIS’ conclusions in the EIS all the more alarming. A report that Beyond Pesticides published 12 years ago, “The Environmental Risks of Transgenic Crops: An Agroecological Assessment is the failed pesticide […]

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Australian Organic Farmer Loses GE Contamination Suit

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, May 29, 2014) The global fight to establish better protections from genetic contamination caused  by genetically engineered (GE) crops suffered a legal setback in Australia this week. A ruling of the Supreme Court of Western Australia  found that farmer Steve March could not seek compensation after losing his organic certification as a result of a neighbor’s GE crops contaminating his organic crops. Mr. Marsh filed the lawsuit against Michael Baxter, a neighboring GE canola seed farmer, alleging that  he had suffered economic damage because of his organic decertification. The decertification had been brought on by the confirmed presence of GE canola plants and seeds on his property and Australia’s zero-tolerance organic standard concerning GE contamination on organic lands. Mr. Baxter  began farming GE canola just a few years before and was the likely source of the contamination. Argued before the court earlier this year, the litigants as well as environmental and organic advocates across the globe had anxiously awaited the court’s decision. Supporters of the suit hoped it might advance much-needed protections against the economically devastating and oft uncontrolled invasion of GE crops on organic and non-GE lands. Opponents of the suit claim it would have burdened GE […]

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Citing Continuing Failure to Protect Endangered Species, Lawsuit Challenges EPA Registered Pesticide

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, March 26, 2014) Conservation and food-safety groups filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday for failing to protect hundreds of endangered fish, butterflies and other species from a new, toxic pesticide, cyantraniliprole. The suit claims EPA violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by approving the widespread agricultural and residential use of the new pesticide in January without input from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, the two federal agencies in charge of protecting endangered species. The Notice of Intent to Sue is being filed by the Center for Biological Diversity,  Center for Food Safety, and Defenders of Wildlife. Cyantraniliprole, a new, systemic insecticide, was formally registered by the EPA earlier this year. Despite evidence that cyantraniliprole is toxic to honey bees, EPA’s registration document for cyantraniliprole finds that, “There is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide residue.” According  to EPA’s assessment the pesticide is also slightly to very highly toxic to aquatic organisms. Comments from beekeepers and concerned groups, including Beyond Pesticides, urged EPA not the grant registration, given the toxic nature of the pesticide and […]

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Survey Finds GE Contamination of Organic Farms

Monday, March 10th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, March 10, 2014) New data finds that organic farmers are growing increasingly concerned with genetically engineered (GE) crops cross-pollinating and contaminating their fields. This contamination can lead to serious economic losses for organic farmers and has created tension between neighbors. The data comes at a critical time as USDA is advancing the notion that “coexistence” between GE and non-GE growers  presents no problems for the  organic market.  USDA has been widely criticized in organic circles because its decisions to deregulate numerous GE crops  place  the burden of reducing contamination on non-GE growers. A survey,released by Food and Water Watch and Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM), finds that a third of U.S. organic farmers have experienced GE contamination in their fields due to the nearby use of GE crops, while over half of these growers have had loads of grain rejected because of unwitting GE contamination. These rejections can lead to big income losses for farmers, with a  median cost of approximately $2,500 per year, according to the  survey. Additionally,  several farmers report annual losses of over $20,000 due to the need to establish buffer zones, while limit the threat of contamination from their neighbors by taking […]

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USDA Report Cites Concerns with GE Crops as the Agency Approves New Uses

Friday, February 28th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, February 28, 2014) A report released last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers the trends of genetically engineered (GE) crops over the past 15 years, since they were first introduced. Responding to increasing GE use, USDA also points to major concerns such as increasing herbicide resistance and higher levels of herbicide use as major potential threats to human health and the environment. The report comes as USDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are poised to  approve  new forms of GE corn and soybeans designed to be resistant to 2,4-D products,  one of the active ingredients in Agent Orange and a known carcinogen. Released  by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) on February 20, the report not only details the trends in GE use but also the known and unknown threats that GE crops pose. The number of GE varieties approved by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) grew exponentially between 1984 and 2002, the report said. Today the majority of GE crops, corn and soy, are grown on the nation’s largest farms. In 2013, more than 169 million acres of GE crops were planted in the U.S., comprising half of all cropland. […]

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Organic Farmers Look to New Resource to Avoid GE Contamination

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, February 3, 2014) Prompted by the prolific threat of contamination of organic agriculture by genetically engineered crops, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) recently published a comprehensive guide to help  organic seed growers maintain the integrity of organic seed. The publication comes just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to limit the ability of farmers to legally defend themselves against genetic drift in a landmark federal lawsuit OSGATA et al. vs. Monsanto. The publication, entitled Protecting Organic Seed Integrity, provides organic farmers, seed handlers, and seed companies an array of resources they can employ to maintain organic integrity through crop specific, scale-appropriate strategies. In addition, the handbook provides guidance on testing protocols for crops that are particularly risky, that is, crops with GE counterparts that are approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including corn, soy, cotton, alfalfa, canola, sugar beets, and squash. “The risk to organic farmers by GE contamination is real,” said Maine organic seed farmer, Jim Gerritsen, OSGATA President. “Organic farmers continue to be failed by the government. This new handbook is an important tool for farmers to protect themselves and the organic seed supply.” With widespread planting of genetically engineered crops, […]

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GE Soy Exhibits Higher Glyphosate Residues than Conventional, Organic Healthier

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2014) Researchers in Norway recently released a new study giving organic consumers and anti-genetically engineered (GE) crop advocates another few solid reasons to promote organic and continue the fight against engineered crops.  Findings from the study demonstrate that not only do soybeans grown using organic cultivation practices provide the healthiest nutritional profile of the three classes of soybeans studied, but GE soybeans also retain glyphosate residues at higher levels than their conventional, non-GE soybean counterparts. In Compositional differences in soybeans on the market: Glyphosate accumulates in Roundup Ready GM soybeans (Soy Study), Thomas Bøhn of Genøk, Centre for Biosafety and his team of researcher examined 31 batches of soybeans””all grown in the United States.  The batches were separated into three categories: (1) GE, glyphosate-tolerant soy (GE-soy); (2) unmodified soy cultivated using conventional ”˜chemical’ practices; and (3) unmodified soy cultivated using organic practices. Among the three categories, all individual soybean samples were analyzed for their nutritional content, including total protein, total fat, dry matter, starch, ash, minerals, trace elements, vitamin B6, amino acid and fatty acid composition, in addition to the relevant pesticides used on the samples during cultivation. The study selected soybeans as the target crop […]

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Supreme Court Denies Family Farmers the Right to Self-Defense from Monsanto Suits

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, January 15, 2013) The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision on Monday  in the landmark federal lawsuit Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto, limiting the ability of farmers to protect themselves from genetic drift. An earlier Appeals Court decision in the case acknowledged genetic drift as inevitable and evoked a public  commitment from Monsanto that it would not sue farmers faced with contamination of crops containing “trace amounts” of the company’s patented genes.  In the past, Monsanto has claimed that farmers were responsible and liable for its genetic property being found on land farmed by farmers who did not pay to cultivate the company’s genetically engineered crop. The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal and reinstate the suit, denying farmers the right to argue their case in court and gain greater protection from potential abuse by the agrichemical and genetic engineering giant, Monsanto. Additionally, the high court decision dashes the hopes of family farmers who sought the opportunity to prove in court Monsanto’s genetically engineered seed patents are invalid. The case, originally filed on behalf of several plaintiffs on March 29, 2011, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, challenges […]

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General Mills to Drop Genetically Engineered Ingredients in Original Cheerios

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, January 8, 2014) Last week, General Mills announced that the company will  eliminate genetically engineered (GE) ingredients from its mainstay original cereal Cheerios. The action  recognizes  the overwhelming consumer demand for GE-free products. The move was met with  a range of  reactions in the environmental community, from cheers of  victory for the GE-free movement to calls for broader action affecting General Mills’ product line, right-to-know labeling of all foods produced with GE ingredients, and compensation of farmers by patent holders of genetically engineered material that contaminates their crops.  The General Mills’ announcement does not apply to all of its Cheerio products, or its other products. “Did we change Cheerios? No. Not really,” says a blog post by Tom Forsythe, vice president of Global Communications for General Mills. “Why change anything at all? It’s simple. We did it because we think consumers may embrace it,” he continues. Some in the environmental community assert that this change is an attempt by the company to revive its image after spending millions of dollars to defeat state-level labeling initiatives in California in 2012, and Washington State in 2013. The ”˜new’ Cheerios will contain the label “Not Made with Genetically Modified Ingredients.”  General […]

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White Paper Outlines New Approach to Endangered Species Act Pesticide Review

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, November 19, 2013) Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U .S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released a white paper identifying how they plan to reconfigure the pesticide review process to meet the pesticide approval requirements for the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The new approach outlined in the white paper incorporates suggestions from the National Academy of Sciences’ Research Council (NRC) report released last May. The white paper is a step towards overhauling a deeply flawed process, though there will be several challenges to implementing this new approach for the agencies moving forward. Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), before a pesticide can be sold, distributed, or used in the U.S., EPA is required to determine that the pesticide does not cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment. However, in the case of species listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA, all federal agencies, including EPA, are required to ensure that their actions will not jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species by diminishing the species’ numbers and reproduction. To do this, in its pesticide registration process, EPA is required to […]

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GE Restrictions Become Law, Kauai Council Overrides Mayor’s Veto

Monday, November 18th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, November 18, 2013) Kauai made history in Hawaii and worldwide on Saturday when it enacted a law to force public disclosure of  large scale production of  experimental genetically engineered organisms and pesticide use.  Using the  authority vested in local political subdivisions by the state’s constitution, the law seeks to “to establish provisions to inform the public, and protect the public from any direct, indirect, or cumulative negative impacts on the health and the natural environment of the people and place of the County of Kaua”˜i, by governing the use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms.” The Council, with an outpouring of community support, voted 5-2 to override the Mayor’s veto of Bill 2491,  introduced by Council  Member Gary Hooser. The bill  was originally passed by the Council on October 16, 2013 by a 6-1 vote. According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser newspaper, a Syngerta attorney said, “There will definitely be a lawsuit.” The newspaper cites Syngenta, DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences, BASF, and Kauai Coffee, the largest coffee grower in the state, as being affected by the legislation. In addition to the public disclosure provisions that take effect in nine months, the law requires an  Environmental and Public Health […]

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Moms Fined $10,000 in Genetically Engineered Labeling Counterattack

Friday, October 11th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, October 11, 2013) A group of mothers working to disclose donors of the No-on-522 campaign, which opposes genetically engineered (GE) labeling in Washington State, has been fined $10,000 plus attorney’s fees for bringing a suit against Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) for allegedly violating state campaign finance disclosure laws in Washington. Washington State’s Initiative 522, which is on the November ballot, will require the labeling by July 1, 2015 of genetically engineered  crops and processed foods. The grassroots group, Moms for Labeling, filed the suit against GMA and the No-on-522 campaign on September 17, asserting that GMA is falsely labeled as a top donor for the campaign, in order to conceal the identities of large out of state corporations who are against GE labeling. Last year, many of GMA members who contributed against labeling efforts in California prompted negative publicity and widespread consumer boycotts. The lawsuit was initially dismissed on a technicality because the group ””newly formed and made up of a handful of moms”” violated state filing procedures by not waiting 55 days after giving notice of an action to sue. In dismissing the suit, the judge ruled that under the circumstances, only the state attorney general now […]

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